Sunday, January 20, 2013

Baltimore is Earl Weaver

Earl Weaver, the legendary manager of the Baltimore Orioles, has passed away. He died, as my brother sarcastically noted, "at the senseless age of 82." But still, this is a very sad event for me. To a lifelong Baltimorean and Orioles fan, Earl Weaver was much more than a successful manager or a sports legend. He was a figurehead for not just the Orioles, but for the city of Baltimore.

Think about it, ye die hard fans of Baltimore sports. What do you take pride in about your teams and your city? Is it that we're the most biggest, brightest or most popular? Is it because are teams are the sexiest, glitziest, and the classiest? Of course not. Baltimore prides itself on its grit, its determination, and its abilities to overcome adversity even when the odds are stacked against us. The Orioles did it this year by making the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. The Ravens are continuing to do it the playoffs now, winning when no one gives them a chance.

But I'm not just talking sports teams, here. This rings true for our teachers, our municipal employees, our police officers, our entrepreneurs,  etc. Everyone here knows that you don't have to be the richest, prettiest or the most glamorous to succeed.

And so it  was with Earl Weaver. He was small and Napoleonic. A full head shorter than most of his players he never let his diminutive stature get in the way of letting everyone know who was in charge. He was a tiny, hard-nosed, in-your-face pit bull of a manager. He could care less about what you thought of him as long as he got his results. And is this not a perfect description of Baltimore?

How do Baltimore fans want to describe their football team? Smashmouth. That's Earl Weaver.

When the Maryland Terrapins won the men's basketball championship in 2002, was it because they were the best team on paper? No, they were underdogs with chips on their shoulders. That's Earl Weaver, too, and that is what made that run with their equally scrappy coach so fun to watch.

Baltimore thrives on being the underdog. We're nestled on the East Coast between the capitol of the United States, and a city that honestly believes it's the capitol of the universe and won't shut up about it. And when people think about other great cities out here, what leaps to their minds isn't Baltimore as much as it is Boston, Philadelphia and Miami. But we don't mind. It makes it that much sweeter to kick your asses.

So you other towns can keep your flashy, overpaid players. Keep your footwear models, and your Guido, frat-boy managers. Keep your inflated payrolls and your supermodel girlfriends. Keep doing ads for insurance and pizzas and razor blades while you watch the playoffs from your couches. And next time you step on the field against Baltimore, remember, you're not just playing the Ravens or the Orioles, you're playing against Earl Weaver, because Baltimore IS Earl Weaver, and Earl Weaver is better than you!


The Ravens are playing the New England Patriots today in the AFC championship game, which pits this guy

against this guy.

Unfortunately for the Ravens, this shoe model happens to be a very talented quarterback, in addition to the really manly fella we see here. So my recommendation to the Ravens is a steady diet of Earl Weaver's playbook.



And the three-run poke.

Earl Weaver, my lips to yours!